Viacom Sues Cablevision Over iPad Streaming

iPad 2 - PR Shot - 2011

If there was any optimism that content owners and distributors would come to resolution over streaming television on iPad devices, word that Viacom and Time Warner Cable are at the negotiating table has quickly been followed by news that Viacom is suing Cablevision over the same issue.

In a complaint filed this morning in New York federal court, Viacom takes issue with Cablevision's distribution of its channels including MTV, Comedy Central, and Nickelodeon on tablet devices. Similar to the lawsuit that was filed in April against TWC, Viacom claims that such streaming constitutes a breach of contract and copyright infringement. Unlike TWC, however, Cablevision has allegedly ignored cease-and-desist letters and continued to provide those channels through its iPad app.

The dispute between Viacom and distributors like TWC and Cablevision arises out of worries that viewers who watch programming on mobile devices won't watch them on set-top boxes and won't be counted for advertising purposes.

Viacom's executives have also made clear they expect more compensation if the company's content is distributed to new platforms like iPad devices.

In reaction, distributors believe they are merely extending consumer convenience and are within their licensed rights to provide such a service.

"Cablevision's very popular Optimum App for iPad, which has been available to our customers for nearly three months, falls within our existing cable television licensing agreements with programmers – including Viacom," says Cablevision in a statement. "It is cable television service on the iPad, which functions as a television, and is delivered securely to our customers in the home on Cablevision's own proprietary network.”


Twitter: @eriqgardner